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CrossOver Games

Posted by dbmochran on March 26, 2010

Play Windows Games on Linux Computers

By Juergen Haas.

CrossOver Games is a software package for running computer games that were developed for Microsoft Windows operating systems on Linux. It is a product developed by CodeWeavers and is based on the open source software WINE, which makes it possible to run native MS Windows applications on Linux.

The project started out as “CrossOver Office” which simplified the process of installing MS Office on Linux machines using WINE. As the project matured, many other native MS Windows applications were supported and “Office” was dropped from the product name. Then a version of CrossOver was developed that specialized in MS Windows games.

Unlike the open source software WINE, CrossOver products are not free. The relatively modest price tag buys you simplified installation of supported applications. For example, when installing Steam, CrossOver Games automatically downloads the Windows installation file and any required supporting files. Also note that regular licensing still applies to the games you install.

CrossOver Games supports many popular Windows games. This includes:

  • World of Warcraft

  • EVE Online

  • Guild Wars

  • Prey

  • Stream Games (Half-Life2, Counterstrike, Civilization IV, Call of Duty 2, etc.)

All the supported games generally install quickly and easily, but CrossOver Games also gives you the option to install unsupported applications and games, which requires some manual intervention.

You may think that running Windows programs on Linux would be slower than running them in their native operating system. This, however, is not the case in general when using the well designed compatibility layer WINE. Most Windows games actually perform better on Linux, and CrossOver Games makes sure WINE is optimally set up to provide maximum performance for any of its supported games.



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Play the Game You Know You Can Win

Posted by dbmochran on March 25, 2010

By Peter Bregman

How can a few pirates in small boats capture and hold huge tanker ships hostage? How can a few scattered people in caves halfway across the world instill fear in the hearts of millions of citizens in the largest, most powerful countries in the world? How can a single independent contractor beat out a 30,000-person consulting firm to win a multi-million dollar contract?

In A Separate Peace, John Knowles’ coming-of-age novel, Phineas invents the game Blitzball, in which everyone chases a single ball-carrier, who must outrun every other competitor. And, as it happens, Phineas always wins. Because he created the rules that favor his particular skills.

That’s the secret of the successful underdog. Play the game you know you can win, even if it means inventing it yourself. Entrepreneurs intuitively understand this; they start their own companies for exactly this reason. I know a tremendous number of extremely successful people who could never get a job in a corporation because they never went to college. So they started their own companies; companies they designed to play to their unique strengths. They invented a game they could win, and then they played it.

In Moneyball, Michael Lewis, one of the great storytellers of our time, explains how the Oakland As, with 30.26€ million in salaries, consistently beat teams with over 73.81€ million in salaries. The richer teams hired the top players based on the traditional criteria: the highest batting averages, most bases stolen, most hits that brought a runner home, and, get this, the all-American look.

Other poorer teams who used the same criteria as the rich ones had to settle for 2nd or 3rd tier people who were less expensive. Which basically guaranteed that the richest teams had the best players and won.

But the Oakland A’s studied the game and reinvented the rules. They realized that the number of times a player got on a base (On Base Percentage) combined with the number of bases a player got each time they came to bat (Slugging Percentage) was a better predictor of success. And no one else was looking at those criteria, so the players who excelled in those areas were cheap. Hiring those people was a game the Oakland A’s could win.

Large consulting firms spend tens of thousands of dollars on glossy proposals to clients. But is that what wins the game? Perhaps what really wins is client ownership over the project, and if you sit with the client and design the project with her, your one-page proposal (that she, in effect, co-wrote with you) will beat their hundred pages every time. At a fraction of the cost. That’s a game an independent contractor can win.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his article How David Beats Goliath, talks about the moment that David shed his armor. He knew he couldn’t win a game of strength against strength. But he also knew he was faster, more agile, and had better aim. So he picked up five stones, dashed out of the pack, and won the battle. He broke the rules and reinvented the game.

Gladwell refers to research done by the political scientist Ivan Arreguin-Toft who looked at every war fought in the past two hundred years in which one side was at least ten times stronger than the other. He found that the weaker side won almost 30% of the time — a remarkable feat. The reason? They fought a different war than their opponents.

The 70% that lost? They fought the conventional way; they engaged in battle using the same rules as their stronger opponents.

In 1981, Doug Lenat, a computer scientist, entered a war game tournament in which each contestant was given a fictional trillion-dollar budget to spend on a naval fleet of their choosing. The other contenders had deep military background and built a conventional naval fleet with boats of various sizes with strong defenses.

But Lenat had no military background. He simply fed the rules of the tournament to a computer program he invented. A program that was built to win, not to follow convention.

“The program came up with a strategy of spending the trillion dollars on an astronomical number of small ships like P.T. boats, with powerful weapons but absolutely no defense and no mobility,” Lenat said. “They just sat there. Basically if they were hit once, they would sink. And what happened is that the enemy would take its shots and every one of those shots would sink our ships. But it didn’t matter, because we had so many.”

Lenat won the game in a landslide.

What game are you playing? Is it the right game for your particular skills and talents? Is it a perfect set-up for you or your company to win? If not, then perhaps it’s time to play a different game or invent one of your own; one that you can win.


About the writer: Peter Bregman speaks, writes, and consults on leadership. He is the CEO ofBregman Partners, Inc., a global management consulting firm, and the author of Point B: A Short Guide To Leading a Big Change.

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The Top 10 Benefits of Play

Posted by dbmochran on March 22, 2010

By Marianne St. Clair

Play is extremely important for humans from birth to death. Play is not meant to be just for children. It is a form of release and connection that can tap into creativity and can allow you the chance to connect with your inner child and the inner child of others.

Play is a state of mind, but it is also a state of body, emotion, and spirit. Yes…it is something you do (playing games, swinging, playing “tag”, playing with dolls), but it is also something you watch others do, and gain pleasure from simply watching. It is often described as a time when we feel most alive, yet it is something we take for granted and may forget to do. It can be entirely positive, or can be dramatic (such as acting out a thrilling or suspenseful activity). Play can be used in many ways to not only stimulate creativity but as a way to transform negative emotions. We are hardwired as adults to engage in play, and it is crucial to our vitality to spend time with play each day.

This article will address the top ten benefits of play and provide suggestions on how you can get in touch with your own creative possibilities and abilities.

For more information on this topic, download this mp3 interviewwith author, Marianne St. Clair.

1. Play can inspire you to think differently

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~ Apple Computers

Yes, play can be wild and crazy — it can break all the rules and can crash the status quo and the hum-drum way of doing the same old thing. Walt Disney was dedicated to play, and his willingness to buck conventional wisdom changed the world of entertainment. He did not allow the criticisms of the world to get in the way of his child-like imagination. The next time you are stuck in a rut, pull out a box of crayons, modeling clay, glue, and scissors, pop in a copy of Dumbo, and invite your inner child to let loose and break free. You will be amazed at the way your thinking shifts to new worlds of discovery.

2. Playing can bring greater joy into your life

What do you think the world would be like if every human spent time each day in play? I bet just asking you this question has brought a smile to your face. Play creates laughter, joy, and a feeling of inner peace. It is almost impossible to stay stuck, angry, or frustrated when you are playing “hide and seek” or acting out the role of the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz or making mud pies while digging your feet into the sand of a big old-fashioned sandbox. Starting today, carve out 30 minutes each day to engage in some form of play, and watch your joy factor rise!

3. Play is known to reduce stress

Studies show that as humans, play is hardwired into our genetic code. As humans, we crave the need to play because it is instinctive and fundamental to human existence. With regular play, our problem-solving and adaptive abilities will be in much better shape to handle this complex world, and we are much more likely to choose healthy answers to challenging situations as they arise. The reason for this is that play teaches us how to manage or “transform” our negative emotions, and it is the foundation for sound mental, physical, and emotional health. Play can make work seem like pleasure, and aside from this, it is just plain fun! It creates laughter and freedom that can instantly reduce stress and add a feeling of relaxation to our daily living.

4. Playing on a regular basis can increase longevity

Many adults (and many children) are working from 40-60 hours per week, seeing play as a luxury that must be“ squeezed into the work week”. This view of play is sorely misguided. Being play-deprived is similar to being sleep-deprived. Our genetic code demands that we play, just as it demands that we sleep, and when we resist this primal urge, our physical, emotional and mental energies are deeply depleted.

The loss of well-being is creating physical, emotional, and mental burnout, and stress-related health problems are widespread. Infusing play into the workday can keep you emotionally balanced and can reduce stress, both of which can contribute to living healthier and longer. The next time you are feeling stressed as if you can’t add one more thing to your full plate, take a break. Hit the basketball court, play hopscotch, jump rope, or play a few hands of cards. You will be adding years to your life in these precious moments.

5. Play can reduce struggle, conflict, and worry

Through the years, studies have revealed that play acts as an antidote to violent tendencies and is a powerful catalyst for positive socialization. People who avoid or have never learned to play may become lost in the world of fear, anger, and obsessive worry. Play provides us with an opportunity to choose alternatives to struggle, conflict, and worry, which are healthier and positive and fosters a sense of belonging and connection to other people.

6. Play can increase your sense of lightness

At play, we are all children. Unburdened by consciousness or self-consciousness, we are caught in the moment. Suffused with pleasure, we exult in the sheer lightness of being. Yet, as welcome and wonderful as those feelings are, play’s value among adults is too often vastly underrated. It refreshes us and recharges us. It restores our optimism. It changes our perspective, stimulating creativity. It renews our ability to accomplish the work of the world.

But there is also new evidence that play does much more. It may in fact be the highest expression of our humanity, both imitating and advancing the evolutionary process. Play appears to allow our brains to exercise their very flexibility, to maintain and even perhaps renew the neural connections that embody our human potential to adapt, and to meet any possible set of environmental conditions. Play is an opening to our very being.

Children if unburdened by society’s restrictions and unwritten rules, continue to show us the need for us to lighten up and BE happy. My own daughter has taught me the importance of getting on a swing and flying high in the sky to laugh and get out of any hum drum I might have been in and how transformable play is.

7. Play can stimulate the imagination, curiosity, and creativity

Research shows that play is a hands-on, minds-on learning process. It produces a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and its possibilities. We begin giving meaning to life through story making, and playing out various possible scenarios. As a photographer and artist, I use play as an opportunity to see the world with childlike eyes. I keep reminding myself to see and view everything as if I had never seen it before. I then begin to see things with a different and new perspective. On mornings when I get up early, I will look for the opportunities that await me such as seeing squirrels gathering their first meal of the day as the fog rests in the fields of freshly cut hay and how I imagine what it would be like to climb the tree and jump from branch to branch.

If we drive the same way to work, eat the same foods, live the same grind day in and day out, our minds begin to stagnate and we loose our zest for creativity. We are always creating our experiences and our lives, so why not have some fun and develop a thirst for curiosity like Leonardo Da Vinci; your renewed sense of imagination could be endless!

8. Playing softens the heart — as the heart becomes malleable, the risk of hypertension and depression decrease

Recently a new game was released for the computer using the dual technologies of biofeedback and computer technology. This state of the art game called The Journey to Wild Divine is the first “inner-active” computer adventure that combines ancient breathing and meditation with modern biofeedback technology for total mind-body wellness. With so many of the games today filled with toxic content, it is no wonder our youth are at risk. This game proves to be the exact opposite.

Characters within The Journey help you learn to control your body’s reactions. By increasing, decreasing or synchronizing body rhythms, through various levels of breathing, relaxation, and meditation techniques, like the “Heart Breath”, you will quickly learn to master the “events” and progress in the game.

Think about the focused intentional mind of a child and how quickly they can manifest something if they are able to freely think of limitless possibilities. We can learn so much by observing the messages of the children.

You literally become what you think about most. Your life becomes what you have imagined and believed in most. The world is literally your mirror, enabling you to experience in the physical plane what you hold as your truth … until you change it.

It is so important because, as we are learning Quantum Physics and the power of what we create with our intentions, the knowledge you gain will help you enhance your personal growth and well-being. This is just one example of where you can visibly see the effects of play on your well-being.

9. Play can greatly enhance your energy levels

Life. It can be hard. We’ve all been there: overworked, stressed, mentally and physically burned out. Day in and day out, you feel like you’ve “hit the wall” — too tired to work out, dragging through the day, and continually exhausted even when you first wake up. We’re overdoing it. It’s just a fact of life, and we need to live with it, right? Wrong! Mental and physical exhaustion is the body’s natural response to physical exertion, emotional stress, or lack of sleep.

Normally, we reach for a quick fix by drinking coffee, sugared energy drinks, or resorting to pep-up pills like ephedrine. The problem is, those stimulants provide only a temporary boost, lasting an hour at best. Worse, after they wear off, your energy levels crash, leaving you even more exhausted than before. Playing safely gives your body back the energy it needs through laughter. Doing things that bring you joy and being with other people who are having fun enables you to keep your energy levels up longer and sustain more vitality.

10. Play can provide you with an opportunity to take risks

When we are engaged in living our lives as a game and being the player, we begin to recognize the contradictions in one’s(?) own risk-taking behavior, and it makes the case that accepting risk is an essential part of a full and healthy life. Play lets us experiment, explore and take risks with ideas without fearing the consequences that might happen in “real life.”

For too many of us, what is considered taking a risk is sometimes nothing more than taking an easier course. Play helps us release those thoughts that are locked in the head and the heart. Play also helps us learn our way, develop curiosity, learn to think, make new choices, discover special talents, build social relationships, make things less scary, and experience new enthusiasm for life. These factors are the very basis for a happy life and are most critical to our evolution.

The wonderful thing about playing is that everyone is successful at it. Don’t use playtime to test or stretch your workday. It is a time to feel good about yourself and each other — and to just have fun together. Perhaps, most important of all, play is fun. Years later, when we recall our life, it is the happy times spent playing with special people that we remember most fondly. •

© 2005 Marianne St. Clair


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George Mallory conquered Everest decades before Sir Edmund Hillary

Posted by dbmochran on February 20, 2009

George Mallory left and Andrew Irvine at their camp as they prepare to climb Everest in June 1924"

A mountaineering expert will today claim that Sir Edmund Hillary was not the first man to scale Everest – and that it was in fact conquered three decades before by the British climber George Mallory.

Graham Hoyland has spent years researching a story he was told as a boy: Mallory, who took part in the first three British expeditions and who is widely accepted as having just failed to reach the summit, did in fact succeed and was on his way down when he died.

Mallory and his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine, both went missing somewhere high on the north-east ridge during the final stage of their attempt to make the first ascent of the world’s highest mountain in June 1924.

The pair’s last known sighting was only 800ft from the summit and Mallory’s body lay undiscovered for 75 years. It has never been proved whether they were on their way up, or had completed the climb and were on their way down.

As a 12-year-old, Mr Hoyland was told about the climber’s disappearance by his cousin, Howard Somervell, a retired missionary doctor and mountaineer, who had been one of the last men to see Mallory alive.

After eight expeditions to Everest and decades of research, Mr Hoyland believes he knows what happened and is ready to expose the accepted theory – that Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to conquer Everest, in 1953 – as untrue. He will present his findings to the Royal Geographical Society in a lecture today.

Mr Hoyland, who has climbed Everest, said most experts and historians presume that Mallory died after attempting to climb a 28,280ft vertical cliff on the mountain’s north ridge, known as the Second Step. They believe it was there that the mountaineer Noel Odell, widely accepted as the last person to see Mallory and Irvine alive, saw them climbing towards the summit.

But he said no one else had previously tried that route, and so it was unlikely Mallory had.

“Mallory had Irvine with him, who isn’t really a climber, and he looks up and sees this enormous prow of a Second Step. I don’t think he would have contemplated it when he got up close.”

Mr Hoyland’s theory is that they took a lower route to the top called the Third Step and that is where Odell saw them, not on the Second Step as he maintained in his account. Mr Hoyland said they could not have climbed the steep cliff as quickly as Odell described, adding: “No one can surmount the Second Step in five minutes.”

If Mallory and Irvine were on the Third Step, a much smaller challenge closer to the summit, then most historians agree that they would have made it to the summit.

“If they were there, there is no question in my mind that one or both of them would have reached the summit,” Mr Hoyland said. By Nick Britten


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